Bishop challenges faithful to heed ‘universal call to holiness’

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MANILA, Nov. 3, 2013—As the Philippine Church celebrated the Solemnity of All Saints on Friday, a Catholic bishop challenged the faithful to become “social saints” who embody virtues of holiness that go against the different forms of political corruption plaguing the society.

In a statement, Bishop-elect of the Diocese of San Carlos Gerardo Alminaza reminded the laity of the “universal call to holiness”, urging them to “inspire a collective and widespread effort to abolish all forms of pork barrel through the people’s initiative and to abolish this political cancer that breeds patronage politics and perpetuates political dynasties.” 

“The kind of holiness we need today is not privatized, that is, confined only to our private lives and does not affect nor challenge our ways of doing business, politics, and practically all the other aspects of human life, including how we care for our environment,” Alminaza said. 

Alminaza, who was appointed by Pope Francis as the new bishop of the Diocese of San Carlos last September 14, made the remark amid the ongoing investigation on the pork barrel scam involving the alleged diversion of government funds to bogus non-governmental organizations and foundations. 

Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam, is set to face the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on November 7. 

Alminaza added that possession of saintly attitudes could be the solution to address the “social sins” present in the society such as graft and corruption, double standard of morality, and abuse of environment, among many others. 

“As we pray for all our faithful departed, we remember in a special way not only members of our immediate and extended families, but those most forgotten, those who simply “disappeared”, tortured and killed for their work for social justice and defense of human rights, and those who were victims of natural calamities that recently hit our country,” Alminaza said. 

Millions of Filipinos trooped to cemeteries on All Saints’ Day to pay respects and honor their dead. This Christian tradition dates back during the Roman times wherein saints and martyrs were honored for standing by their faith. 

“May our faith in the ‘communion of saints’ spur us on to become saints together…May our love for our beloved dead make us value, honor, and continue the ‘good deeds’ they have begun and left us,” he added. 

“May our commemoration of our faithful departed inspire us to make sure that we leave this world of ours a much better place than what we have inherited from them,” Alminaza noted. (Jennifer Orillaza)

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